Friday, December 10, 2010

Exploring Brunei...

During your stay in my blog, you will find out many amazing facts about Brunei... 

Do share with us your views at the comments tab.

Enjoy reading! :D 

NOTE: This blog is strictly for school purpose & all the information provided is accurate at the time of blogging. 


Flag of Brunei Darussalam
The national flag of Brunei Darussalam was adopted on September 29, 1959. It is designed with white and black bands of colour on the yellow background that extend diagonally on the flag. The white band of colour is a little wider than the black band of colour. It is depicted on the upper portion of the black one. In the middle of the National flag of Brunei is the “coat of arms” which is designed in red. The ‘coat of arms’ is form by the crescent which is the emblem of Islam and sun umbrella  together with pictogram of monarchy gloves on the two sides. The proportion of the flag is 1:2 which means the length of the flag is twice of the height.

What each colour and element means?

The yellow color signifies liberality and white color stands for morality and peace.
Embodied in the emblem, in yellow, is the state motto in Arabic script which can be roughly translated as "Always Render Service by God's Guidance". The scroll beneath the crest reads "Brunei Darussalam" which means "Brunei, the abode of peace". The Brunei crest on the emblem includes the wing, the hand & the crescent . The wing of four feathers symbolizes the protection of justice, tranquillity, prosperity and peace. The hand represents the Government's pledge to promote welfare, peace and prosperity. The crescent is the symbol of Islam, the national religion of Brunei Darussalam.

Location and Geography

Brunei Darussalam, an independent Sultanate is situated in the South China Sea on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo.  It is wedged in between the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.
Brunei Darussalam is 2,226 square miles (5,763 square kilometers), with a coastline of about 100 miles (161 kilometers) on the South China Sea coast of northwestern Borneo and along the western shores of the southernmost portion of Brunei Bay. Brunei is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The climate is equatorial with high temperatures, high humidity, and heavy rainfall, although there is no distinct wet season. The country is divided into three contiguous administrative districts—Brunei-Muara, Tutong, and Belait—with a fourth, Temburong, separated by the Limbang Valley of Sarawak. The names of the districts derive from their main rivers. (
The population as estimated in 2010 is 395,027 with a growth rate of 1.7%. The birth rate and infant mortality rate is 18/1000 and 11.8/1000 respectively. Life expectancy of the people is 75.9. The density per sq km is 72.

Brunei is a conservative Islamic nation; there are no conflicts in Brunei’s religious affairs.  Muslims occupied 67% of the total population and the rest of the population are allowed to practice their own religion.  The other beliefs practiced are Buddhism at 13% of the population which are mainly of Chinese origins, Christianity at 10% of the population.  There is also a group of people who have admitted to the government that they do not have any religion at all and are regarded as atheists.  Indigenous religions in Brunei are limited only to about 2% of the population. 

Brunei has put up a body in government just to accommodate in upholding Islamic laws.  They have the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) which is in charge in managing, maintaining and fully implementing Islam in every aspect of their governance.  Technically, the Sultan is still the head of the Islamic faith.  MORA is headed by a minister who is appointed by the Sultan. Brunei’s national religion is derived from the Shafeite sect of Islam that came from the Sunni subgroup of Malay origin.  The MORA adheres to the Shafi school of Islamic law.  They are considered to be strict in upholding the Islamic law as they give quite harsh penalties for those who break the Islamic rules like consuming alcohol, holding hands in public and eating pork.  It is very important for the MORA to maintain the sacredness of Islam against negative influences. (Cited from:

Historians believe there was an ancestor to the present Brunei Sultanate, which the Chinese called Po-ni. Chinese and Arabic records indicate that this ancient trading kingdom existed at the mouth of the Brunei River as early as the seventh or eighth century A.D. The kingdom was apparently conquered by the Sumatran Hindu Empire of Srivijaya in the early ninth century, which later controlled northern Borneo and the Philippines. It was dominated by the Java-based Majapahit Empire but soon regained its independence and once again rose to prominence. 
The Brunei Empire had its golden age from the 15th to the 17th centuries, when its control extended over the entire island of Borneo and north into the Philippines. Brunei was particularly powerful under the fifth sultan, Bolkiah (1473-1521), who was famed for his sea exploits and even briefly captured Manila; and under the ninth sultan, Hassan (1605-1619), who fully developed an elaborate Royal Court structure, elements of which remain today. 
After Sultan Hassan, Brunei entered a period of decline due to internal battles over royal succession as well as the rising influences of European colonial powers in the region that, among other things, disrupted traditional trading patterns, destroying the economic base of Brunei and many other Southeast Asian sultanates. In 1839, the English adventurer James Brooke arrived in Borneo and helped the Sultan put down a rebellion. As a reward, he became governor and later "Rajah" of Sarawak in northwest Borneo and gradually expanded the territory under his control. 
Meanwhile, the British North Borneo Company was expanding its control over territory in northeast Borneo. In 1888, Brunei became a protectorate of the British Government, retaining internal independence but with British control over external affairs. In 1906, Brunei accepted a further measure of British control when executive power was transferred to a British resident, who advised the ruler on all matters except those concerning local custom and religion. 
The sultan regained control over internal affairs in 1959, but Britain retained responsibility for the state's defense and foreign affairs .. An attempt in 1962 to introduce a partially elected legislative body with limited powers was abandoned after the opposition political party, Partai Rakyat Brunei, launched an armed uprising, which the government put down with the help of British forces. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the government also resisted pressures to join neighboring Sabah and Sarawak in the newly formed Malaysia. The Sultan eventually decided that Brunei would remain an independent state. 
Sultan Bolkiah was crowned in 1967 at the age of 22, succeeding his father, Sir Omar Ali Saifuddin, who had abdicated. He became the 29th ruler. During his reign, exploitation of the rich Seria oilfield had made the sultanate wealthy. The former Sultan remained as Defense Minister and assumed the royal title Seri Begawan. In 1970, the national capital, Brunei Town, was renamed Bandar Seri Begawan in his honor. The Seri Begawan died in 1986. 
On January 4, 1979, Brunei and the United Kingdom signed a new treaty of friendship and cooperation. On January 1, 1984, Brunei Darussalam became a fully independent state. (Taken from:


Brunei Traditions reflects the customs and rituals followed by the Muslim population of the country. People belonging to other religions are allowed to follow their own traditions in Brunei. The lifestyle of the people centers on the traditions of Brunei.

The Muslims of Brunei follow the Islamic law and the traditions of the Muslim population of Brunei are dictated by Islamic culture. The traditions of Brunei are also applicable to eating habits and it is customary for the people of Brunei to eat with their fingers rather than using fork and spoons. Food and Drink is generally accepted with right hand and while refusing anything when offered it is polite to touch the plate lightly with right hand. In any sort of social gathering, people of Brunei prefer to sit in floor with legs tucked to one side.

During the Islamic month of Ramzan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusks. Food habits of the Brunei people are also very different and they follow some traditional way of cooking certain foods. Rice, Mutton, Fish and sweets form the staple food of Brunei.

People in Brunei follow the traditional dressing. Women are dressed in bright colors and the attire usually covers them from head to toe. Men also prefer formal dressing both in workplace and in social gathering. Wedding ceremonies are also carried out by following true Brunei traditions. Thus the whole lifestyle of the Brunei people still rotates around the age-old Brunei traditions. 


Indigenous groups

Brunei Darussalam : Dusun, Murut, Kedayan, Iban, Tutong, Penan
The indigenous minority tribal groups in Brunei are the same as in the neighbouring Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Dusun constitute about 6.3% per cent of the population, and Murut around 6 per cent. Traditionally animistic, though many have converted to Islam and Christianity, they are also traditionally migrating swidden cultivators and collectors of jungle products residing in the forested interior of the country. The forests around the area where the Dusun live are very rich in biodiversity. Some of the flora found in the forest contain medical value. To find out more about Healing flora of the Brunei Dusun

The Kedayan are Malay-speaking and Muslim agriculturalists. Despite their language and religious affiliations with the ethnic Malay majority, Kedayan are regarded by Bruneians as closer in status to the animist, interior tribal groups because of a number of similar cultural practices. The Kedayan are famous for their music and dance.

Kedayan music is indigenous to the Brunei Malays and is performed by its people especially during special occasions. The music is accompanied by different instruments such as percussions, drums, gongs, and stringed instruments of different forms. The music also goes with ethnic dancers wearing the traditional warrior's attire.

A traditional Kayan longhouse dance played on the keluri (keledi) mouth organ with dance steps by Emang Ajang from Long Laput Baram:

Iban, formerly known also as Sea Dayaks, are roughly 4.7 per cent of the population, live mostly along the border with Sarawak (see Malaysia). They are considered to have entered Brunei from Sarawak during the reign of the famous "white Rajahs" of the Brooke family, and it is probably for this reason that they are not considered by Brunei authorities and its Constitution as Bumiputera. Traditionally involved in head-hunting and living in longhouses, they have more recently become labourers and are becoming more urbanised.

The Penan are perhaps less than 300 individuals in Brunei and are forest dwellers who traditionally followed a nomadic way of life. They traditionally harvested and used blowpipes with poison-tipped darts to hunt animals. Most now live in permanent settlements and engage in year-round farming. 

Click here to find out more about the Penan people 


Brunei official language is called Bahasa Melayu or Standard Malay. Standard Malay is used as a medium of instruction on most schools.

Another language that may be easily noticed in Brunei is Arabic. Arabic is the language used in Muslims’ holy book, the Koran. Being the state’s official religion, all followers of the Islamic faith have to learn some degree of Arabic to be able to understand the messages contained in the Koran.  The Arabic language is currently being taught in religious schools and as well as in schools of higher learning and so a great number of Brunei nationals would be proficient in Arabic.

The Chinese have also a minority status in Brunei. Different districts in Brunei has different Chinese dialects, like, Hokkien is mainly used only in the Brunei-Muara District while the Belait District have Cantonese and Hakka as the choice of language among the Chinese there. Hainanese, Hoisan and Fuchow are the other Chinese languages that are actively in use in Brunei.

The Brunei citizens have also a high proficiency for the English language as they have appointed three British nationals who sit in Brunei’s appellate court. Aside from that, the expatriate community of Brunei is a bit large and so English would really be a common denominator.

Mode of Education

For citizens of Brunei, education is free from the kindergarten level up to the highest level including university training abroad.  Education for children ages 5 to 16, which is the primary level up to the secondary level, is compulsory.  There are 6 years for the primary level and 7 years for the secondary level.  This is to maintain a high literacy rate. Educational services are financed by the government mostly from the revenues in petroleum production.  The Ministry of Educations controls the educational services in the country.  Islamic schools, also called Madrasas, were the main centres of their educational system until recently when the government has acknowledged the importance of western education.   Now, there are several modern schools in the country.  It is included in their educational policies to promote bilingual education, Malay and English.  

Primary and secondary educations are taught in Chinese, English or Malay.  For every district in the country, the government has established its own public school. There are also private schools all around the country.

There are schools that foreigners can choose from.  Most foreigners attend private mission schools, the International School or the Chinese School.  There are also several religious academies. 

In 1985, the country established the University of Brunei Darussalam.  The university has faculties for administration and management, arts and social sciences and science.  The country also has 2 colleges for training teachers and 5 vocational technical schools that include a training center for agriculture.  Still, most students prefer to study at foreign universities in continuing their tertiary education at government expense.

Types of Leisure Programmes



Brunei consists of many cultures like Malayan, Chinese and Indian. The culture of Brunei is also considered to be affected by the Islam. Brunei celebrates many Festivals and Events as there are various races that live in the country. Some of the Festivals and Events in Brunei are:
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • Hari RayaAidiladha
  • His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday(15th July)
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • Chinese New Year in Brunei
  • Christmas in Brunei
  • Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day
  • National Day, February 23
Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated by the people belonging to the Muslim faith right after Ramadhan, the fasting month. On the very first day after Ramadhan, devout Muslims visit mosques in the early morning all over the country and offer their prayers. The Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration is marked by cooking of sumptuous dishes like rice cakes( ketupat), beef and chicken kababs, rendang which is marinated beef. During this festival His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei opens the doors of Istana Nurul Iman and let the citizens of his country meet him and other members belonging to the royal family. He wishes them a very happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day

Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day Festival is celebrated on 31st May, every year to commemorate the building of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. The festival is celebrated right in the center of the city at Taman Haji Sir Ali Saifuddien. On this day military parades, battle demonstrations and parachute shows are held.

The Royal Brunei Armed Forces 49th Anniversary

His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday

His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday is celebrated on 15th July every year. The celebration begins with people from all over the country gathering at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Saifuddien which is located in the heart of the capital city of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan. His Majesty meets his people and gives a speech or a titah. The celebration continues for the next two weeks during which there are fire displays in the sky, parades and processions are organized.

60th birthday celebrations of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam on 29 July 2006

A write-up on Brunei’s recreational programmes:


Soccer is the most popular sport. The Brunei National Team won the Malaysia Cup '99. Local sports like silat, a form of Malay martial arts which won Brunei 3 gold medals in the 1999 SEA Games, sepaktakraw, a sport played with a rattan ball and gasing, a game involving highly polished giant tops are also favourites.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports regularly promotes sports in schools and clubs with sporting events and festivals. Badminton, tennis, sailing, cycling, motorsports and golf are equally popular. Brunei boasts excellent sporting venues and facilities and has hosted national events such as the 20th South East Asian (SEA) Games, the 2001 Primary FOBBISSEA Games and the 9th Asian Junior Athletic Championships.

In February 1999, Brunei had the honour to host the 1998 Baiduri World Grand Prix Badminton Finals. After a successful event, in December 1999, Brunei once again hosted the 1999 Baiduri World Grand Prix Badminton Finals. In August 2001, the Brunei World Grand Prix Badminton Finals 2000 was hosted again in Brunei attracting 16 top seed players to the Sultanate. This prestigious event offers spectators with a chance to view the best of the best in the world of badminton. 

The 35,000 seater Hassanal Bolkiah stadium is the main facility at a multi-purpose sports complex in the capital. Public swimming pools are available within Hassanal Bolkiah Sports Complex and Mumong Sports Complex in Kuala Belait.

Recreational facilities are also available at private clubs like Royal Brunei Recreation Club, Brunei Shell Recreation Club, Jerudong Park Polo Club and Royal Brunei Yacht Club. Golf courses are located at Panaga Club, Pantai Mentiri Golf Club, Jerudong Park Polo Club, Royal Brunei Golf Course and The Empire Hotel and Country Club. The Trijaya Jerudong Equestrian Park presents Bruneians and tourists with the opportunity to enjoy polo and equestrian activities. There is also a bowling alley at Jalan Tutong. Hashing or jogging is another established pastime with several forested areas being turned into recreation parks. Popular jogging areas in BSB are Bukit Shahbandar and Tasek Lama. The Peradayan Forest Reserve in Temburong has a recreational park covering 1,070 hectares with caves and sandstone formations.

One of the main attractions in Brunei Darussalam is the Jerudong Park playground, which provides exciting rides, games and amusements for visitors of all ages. Located approximately 25 minutes from town, the park can accommodate up to 60,000 people.